3 ways to know if you're being breadcrumbed — and not take the bait

In many ways, it's worse than being ghosted. This is how people lead each other on via text

Published August 12, 2017 4:00PM (EDT)


Have you ever received a consistent stream of really complimentary texts, only to be disappointed because the guy never seems to follow up and make a plan to see you? We've all been there. It's shocking and disappointing when actions do not follow words — especially when the words are so seductive. In this modern world of online dating with constant text messaging, it's important to be on guard. Many men have no desire to commit to seeing you but will send you enticing texts, known as "breadcrumbs," to keep you in his line-up.

In fact, I fell in love with a man in Italy who kept me hooked through his breadcrumbs of texts and emails. I wrote an entire book, "Smoke Drink F*#K" (Riverdale Avenue Books) about a seasoned breadcrumber who led me down a primrose path and promised to marry me. That was never his intention -- it was really to keep me hooked.

Here are some ways to recognize breadcrumbing so you can avoid getting played:

  1. Extremely complimentary texts: Many guys know what women like to hear and carefully use their words to seduce. They frequently send out texts or emails like "you are beautiful" or "you are an amazing woman" or "you are so hot." These words make you feel really good, beautiful and special. But beware: these are only words! Don't believe everything he says to you right off the bat. And don't return the compliment.
  1. He misses you: A lot of times a guy will make up an excuse about why he can't see you, such as traveling for work, but will send myriad texts letting you know he misses you and can't wait to see you. I got these a lot from a guy I dated who traveled a lot. Yet when we were actually in the same city, he made little effort to see me, leaving me feeling both sad and confused. Don't assume they really miss you that much. It's a lead on. He's giving you just enough to keep you in the picture.
  1. No follow-up: After all these text messages, you would think the guy would be dying to see you. However, he will rarely make a plan or maybe there will be one actual date but no subsequent ones. If he isn't making a plan to see you soon and keeping his word, ditch him. Block him. Do whatever you need to do to get rid of him. If a guy really wants to see you, he will and he will rapidly. Don't buy his excuses for not getting together.

Recovering from someone who’s breadcrumbing you isn’t easy. His words can be so seductive, making you feel so special and adored. The best way to recover is to move on and find a guy who is truly worthy of you and wants to spend time with you. Pay attention to actions, not words. It's just so easy to type anything in a text message. Remember the next time you text a new guy to not believe everything he types. It may very well just be a breadcrumb.

By Esme Oliver

Esme Oliver has worked as an attorney, a health-care lobbyist, and a legislative director for two U.S. Senators. Her new book "Smoke Drink F*#K" (Riverdale Avenue Books) is out now.

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